International journal of occupational and environmental health

Oxygen enrichment and its application to life support systems for workers in high-altitude areas.

PMID 25000108


Workers coming from lowland regions are at risk of developing acute mountain sickness (AMS) when working in low oxygen high-altitude areas. The aim of this study was to improve the conditions that lead to hypoxia and ensure the safety of the high-altitude workers. We analyzed the influence of low atmospheric pressure on the oxygen enrichment process in high-altitude areas using an engineering method called low-pressure swing adsorption (LPSA). Fourteen male subjects were screened and divided into three groups by type of oxygen supply system used: (1) oxygen cylinder group; (2) LPSA oxygen dispersal group; and (3) control group. These tests included arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2), pulse rate (PR), breaths per minute (BPM), and blood pressure (BP). The results showed that after supplying oxygen using the LPSA method at the tunnel face, the SaO2 of workers increased; the incidence of acute mountain sickness, PR, and BPM significantly decreased. The LPSA life support system was found to be a simple, convenient, efficient, reliable, and applicable approach to ensure proper working conditions at construction sites in high-altitude areas.